After three weeks of colors, strokes and wings, The Wandering Mist Art Camp 2011, has come to an end. This update comes a tad too late as I am still reeling and assimilating this wonderful experience I had. I am exhausted, exhilarated, nostalgic and happy that everything went well. The biggest success of this camp is a lovely group of budding artists and art enthusiasts who will be painting or viewing art in a new light.
Dream it. Desire it. And that becomes your destiny.
Right from the germ of an idea of having a hands-on art camp, to its fruition with all the campers saying fond goodbyes, this has been one creative journey undertaken to teach, and we all ended up learning more.
From day one there has been a flurry of activity. The idea lived, breathed slept, woke-up with me. It had all the elements of inception, brains storming, feasibility, check lists, costing, marketing and what not. It never seemed like work. You are always on a high. It was a classic case of the more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
When you really enjoy your work, the less work it seems for your mind is active, thinking, imagining and trying your best to recreate it in reality. Like managing any project, it had to balance schedule, time, cost and effort, with no compromise on quality. But the pivotal element that made it all happen was the unconditional love and support of family and friends. Pity, they don’t teach that in Project Management classes ?
Developing good in-depth content, providing best art material and incorporating plenty of practice time into the schedule was the crux of the activity. I kept asking myself that if I were a student, what I would like it to be? What would really make me upbeat? Will it make me want to come to class every single day? It took a long time to figure that out in a structured manner. Quality is the element I never compromise upon. The group size was small enough for personal interaction and discussions, at all times.
The Art Camp Facility
Having envisioned a art camp facility that should be simple, comfortable, inspiring and eco-friendly, setting it up was the easiest part. From natural plants, handmade papers, hand-woven weed mats, recycled accents, and of course paintings & art books, the set up was ready in serene surroundings with abundant natural light and fresh air. The end product was inspiring enough for me to paint.
The Budding Artists Bond at the Fine Arts Camp
The camp participants were an interesting mix of adults, teens and kids. Each one was a different kind of a person – be it age, height, interest, attitude or level of exposure to paintings. Varied ideas, perspectives, attitudes and approach brought in a multitude of dimensions to the art camp. This beautiful give-and-take of three weeks kept us beaming, motivated, and gung-ho about creating. It always felt great to watch them mix colors, transfer and watch their intense concentration in everything.
The first week was focused on getting the basics right. Elements, design principles, colors theory, composition, perspective etc.. were the ruling topics. From steadying their shaky hands with pages and pages of drawing lines with pencil and brushes, sketching, shading to the importance to colors and textures in perspective, I guess the first week seemed the longest one.
But nevertheless, a painting was created everyday incorporating the lessons learnt along the way.
Second week started with full painting compositions with instruction and tutorials. Having spent a week with water colors, their graduation to acrylics was enthusiastic with brighter colors, bigger palette, et al. In spite of the aprons, they ruined their clothes. And so did I.
This bunch of eager and enthusiastic painters created paintings every day, in a structured manner. By making mistakes and realizing them, they learnt their lessons better. On the other hand it were those gross errors that made their artworks unusual and beautiful, which I love and cherish the most.
Third week saw them paint every day, but with better command over their works, media and presentation. I saw them planning, composing and creating their paintings on their own, with minimal intervention. It’s a delight to watch each creation come alive. The subject was the same but each ones individual approach to it makes it so much colorful in content and presentation.
They were free to choose the elements, composition, colors, expression, brush work, etc. Having spent most of the days working on paper, they graduated to canvas panels with good results.
Though there was one model to emulate, each one came up with a different looking painting. Each painting had a stamp of the budding artist who decided what it should look like, what elements to include and exclude. Each person’s brush work was unique.
It was here that I could really see them use the basics right. They mixed their own colors to get the shade they were looking for, applied design and composition principles. And most importantly, when they made a mistake or could not proceed with the model, they took their own flight of fancy, modified the concept with what seemed right… and came up with a painting that was truly theirs. That was the day I would call it the success of my art camp.
Teach! And you shall Learn
Along with memories of this art camp, I am left with some good lessons for life. Be it about loving what you do, risk taking, preparing for the worst, or simply managing, it was a great opportunity to learn it in action.
It is indeed true that you really learn when you teach. Every single person had opened within me a new dimension of thought and approach. With their learning, I have learnt too. Even their mistakes were so beautiful that I was always left with a pleasant after-thought.
While the art creations happened by the day, Irving Stone’s book on Michelangelo, The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo, kept me awake at night. To be surrounded with so much inspiration, night and day, was like living a dream.
The song has ended, but the melody lingers on.
Time flew faster than time. It was hard for all of us to believe the camp came to an end. It was a sudden realization and all of us wished that it had not ended so soon. But like all good things, this too came to an end… but with a promise of a better experience next time.
We all got-together with our family and friends to celebrate our last day. Certificate of completion were awarded, all students displayed their works to an art loving audience, happy conversations between home-made hors-de-vours, recollecting happy-sad memoirs and more ensued throughout the evening. Like a ritual, all participants left their hand prints behind in their favorite colors.
A Trip Down the Colorful Lane:
The lovely evening ended. The art campers bid adieu. But these lovely memories stay on. I could not be more happy and to share this.
Yes, it was and still is tiring. An experience, one-of-its-kind for me, is taking a long time to sink in. It is time for me to lay low for I have absorbed a lot of thought and colour. It is about time that I see what I make of myself with this wonderful experience I am having. So I take a break. And be back in a better avatar.
For those who want to get into this camp, buddy, you have to wait for your next vacation.
But if you cant wait, lets talk